Earlier, parliamentarians voted through a bill against President Saied's "exceptional measures," openly defying him.

Saied denounced the parliament's move as a
Saied denounced the parliament's move as a "coup attempt" and said those responsible had "betrayed" the nation. (AP Archive)

Tunisia's President Kais Saied has announced that he is dissolving the country's parliament, eight months after suspending it in a July power grab.

He made the announcement in a meeting of the National Security Council on Wednesday.

"Today, at this historic moment, I announce the dissolution of the Assembly of Representatives of the people, to preserve the state and its institutions," he said.

The announcement came hours after the parliament voted to repeal presidential decrees suspending their chamber and giving Kais Saied near total power, openly defying him.

Saied, on the other hand, dismissed the meeting as illegal and denounced the move as a "coup attempt".

The move was the Tunisian parliament's most direct challenge to Saied, who had warned on Monday that forces would confront "those who pushed Tunisians to fight".

READ MORE: Tunisia’s e-consultation process is another pretence for Saied’s power grab

Broadening opposition

Some 124 MPs out of the total 217 attended the online session, their first since Saied's intervention last summer, and 116 voted against his "exceptional measures".

Saied has been using those measures since July to brush aside the 2014 democratic constitution and govern himself, deputy speaker Tarek Ftiti said.

Parliament's increased confidence reflects broadening opposition to Saied as he tries to rewrite the constitution, take control of the judiciary and impose new restrictions on civil society.

Ennahda, the biggest party in parliament with a quarter of the seats, and its leader, Rached Ghannouchi, who is parliamentary speaker, have been his most vocal critics.

Although political parties remain deeply divided against each other, more of them are now openly rallying against Saied and demanding he adopt an inclusive approach to any efforts to restructure the country's politics.

The former law professor, elected in 2019 amid public anger against the political class, on July 25 last year sacked the government, froze the assembly and seized wide-ranging powers.

He later gave himself powers to rule and legislate by decree and seized control over the judiciary in what rivals saw as further blows to democracy in the birthplace of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.

READ MORE: Thousands protest in Tunisia as Saied cements power over judiciary

Source: TRTWorld and agencies